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Part I
Chapter 6

This webpage reproduces a chapter of

Stalinist Rule in the Ukraine
by Hryhory Kostiuk

published in the U. S. A. by
Frederick A. Praeger, Inc.
New York

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


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Part I
Chapter 8

Part One
Stalinist Centralism and the Ukraine

 p27  Chapter VII

The "Historic Resolution"

On January 24, 1933, the Central Committee of the All‑Union CP(b) adopted a special resolution on the Ukrainian Party organization,1 described later as "the turning point in the history of the CP(b)U, opening a new chapter in the victorious battle of the Bolsheviks in the Ukraine."2

Wherein lay its "historic" significance? The resolution stated bluntly that the CP(b)U had failed to carry out the tasks entrusted to it in connection with collectivization. In spite of the fact that the original target-figures for food deliveries were reduced three times, they were not reached, and hence the "major breakdown" ensued in grain collection. The resolution also pointed out that the three provinces most important in the agricultural production of the Ukraine — Odessa, Dnepropetrovsk and Kharkov — had been neglected. Therefore, the resolution went on, the Central Committee of the All‑Union CP(b) decreed:

1) The appointment of Comrade P. Postyshev, secretary of the CC, All‑Union CP(b), as second secretary of the CP(b)U and first secretary of the Kharkov Provincial Committee.

2) The appointment of Comrade Khataevich to the post of first secretary of the Dnepropetrovsk Provincial Committee, and permission for him to remain as one of the secretaries of the Central Committee of the CP(b)U.

3) The appointment of Comrade Veger as first secretary of the Odessa Provincial Committee.

4) The release of Comrades Maiorov, Stroganov, and Terekhov from their current duties, and their placement at the disposal of the Central Committee.

 p28  5) The assumption of their new duties by Comrades Postyshev, Khataevich and Veger no later than January 30.3

Now that the entire execution of Party policy by the CP(b)U had been condemned by the Kremlin, the discredited leaders of the CP(b)U were placed under the direct supervision of Moscow's emissary Postyshev. He was accompanied to the Ukraine not only by the assistants mentioned in the resolution, but also by thousands of agents whose task it was to keep an eye on Party activities in the Ukraine. V. A. Balitsky arrived from Moscow to take over the all‑important post of Commissar of State Security in the Ukraine.

These facts were revealed by Postyshev a few months after he had assumed control of the Party organization in the Ukraine. Speaking at the November Plenum of the CP(b)U, Postyshev disclosed that

1,340 comrades were dispatched to the district managerial jobs. In the same period of time, 237 secretaries of District Party Committees, 279 chairmen of District Executive Committees, and 158 chairmen of District Control Commissions were replaced by more tenacious workers. With the aid of the All‑Union CP(b), 643 MTS Political Detachments and 203 Sovkhoz Political Detachments were created in the Ukraine, where, in all, 3,000 worker leaders were sent in order to inculcate new forms and methods of management.4

"Simultaneously," Postyshev continued, "no fewer than 10,000 men were sent for permanent employment to the kolkhozes, including 3,000 chairmen and secretaries of kolkhozes. A large detachment of strong, experienced Bolsheviks was sent to the villages as organizers of collectivization.5

What was the significance of these measures which were intended to assist Postyshev? Bearing in mind that the Ukraine, according to the official data of the Board of Economic Statistics,6 was divided into 525 districts, this meant that almost half of the district secretaries of the Party, half of the chairmen of the District Executive Committees, and a third of chairmen of the District Control Commissions were replaced by "more tenacious workers," that is, those who enjoyed Postyshev's confidence and were brought with him from the center. If one adds to this 846 newly created Political Detachments, staffed with 3,000 of Postyshev's men (roughly 6 men per district), and 10,000 "experienced Bolsheviks" planted in the kolkhozes, the total picture is that of a wholesale occupation of key posts in the country by the staff of Stalin's satrap. To every district he sent 29 men to control Party activities and to watch over the most vital spheres of public life. There is little doubt that they were joined by thousands of local  p29 officials, eager to save their skins and to please their new master. With the help of this vast network of trusted employees, Postyshev could easily subdue any country, let alone the famine-ridden, terrorized Ukraine.

The January resolution of the All‑Union CP(b) came like a bolt from the blue. Its effect was stunning, especially for such leading Ukrainian Communists and old Bolsheviks as Skrypnyk, Kosior, Chubar, Petrovsky, Shlikhter, Zatonsky, Lyubchenko, Dubovy, Sukhomlin, and Dudnyk, all of whom realized that they were being placed under Postyshev's supervision. The unprecedented appointment of Postyshev showed how little Moscow was prepared to respect the nominal rights of the Ukrainian Communists.

It is small wonder, therefore, that Postyshev's official reception in the Ukraine was far from enthusiastic. One document, in particular, revealed the open hostility of the Ukrainian Communists toward the new governor-general of the Ukraine. It is the report in Pravda of the joint plenum of the Kharkov Provincial and City Committees of the CP(b)U on February 6.7

After listening to the report by Postyshev the plenum devoted itself to broad debate. The participants in the plenum sharply criticized management in the villages. They scored the attempts of this management to blur the most important decision of the Central Committee of the All‑Union CP(b), dated January 24, and thus to nullify it.8

Moreover, we find even more striking evidence of the opposition to the January resolution in the words of Postyshev himself. Speaking at the joint plenum referred to above, Postyshev complained that

the leader­ship of the Kharkov Party organization has attempted to interpret this exceptional . . . decision of the CC of the All‑Union CP(b) simply as an ordinary change of personnel — as the recall of one person, Terekhov, and his replacement by another person, Postyshev. It is a fact that the plenum of the Provincial Committee, held on January 29, lasted only 20 minutes and that nobody even mentioned the most important resolution of the CC of the All‑Union CP(b), thus testifying to its complete aloofness and revealing, to put it mildly, its political myopia. The plenary meeting was held, as it were, secretly, with only a few men present.9

These incidents are extremely significant. It seems that in spite of the resolution of January 24, the Kharkov committee had decided to ignore it at the meeting held on January 29. This move could only have been made with the knowledge of the Central Committee of the CP(b)U (the secretary of the Provincial Committee was at the same time the fourth secretary of the Central Committee and a member of the Politburo). The demonstration staged by the Ukrainian Communists, who, at the Kharkov meeting, refused even to discuss the January resolution,  p30 could have been dictated by one consideration only. The top Ukrainian Communists must have felt that the whole affair was an incredible mistake on the part of the All‑Union CP(b), which they would be able to rectify. It is also extremely likely that some of the top Ukrainian Communists hoped to discuss the matter with Stalin himself and to persuade him to revoke his decision.10

Very soon, however, these hopes completely vanished. Stalin stood firm, and Postyshev, together with his entourage, arrived in the Ukraine to take over from those who doubted his right. There was nothing else left for the Ukrainian Central Committee to do; they had to accept the orders from above. The February 6 resolution of the joint plenum expressed confidence that "the decision of the CC of the All‑Union CP(b) of January 24, in which the CC of the Party condemned the Party organization in the Ukraine . . . would be the turning point in the life and work of the Kharkov Party organization."11 One day later, on February 7, this attitude was reaffirmed at the joint plenum of the CC and CCC of the CP(b)U. "The plenum considers the resolution of the CC, All‑Union CP(b), as unquestionably correct; it welcomes the strengthening of management in the most vital provinces of the Ukraine and the arrival of the second secretary of the CC, CP(b)U, Comrade Postyshev."12 Moreover, the plenum declared that the new resign was in direct relation to the Third Party Conference and the advice of Molotov and Kaganovich. The humiliation of the native Communists was thus complete, and Postyshev could proceed to the execution of his many tasks. Having donned an embroidered Ukrainian shirt, he embarked on what turned out to be the most cruel subjugation of the Ukrainian people.

The Author's Notes:

1 It has been impossible to find the full text of this resolution. Parts of it were quoted in Kosior's speech "Itogi khlebozagotovok i zadachi KP(b)U v borbe za podnyatie selskogo khozyaistva Ukrainy" (Results of the Grain Deliveries and the Tasks of the CP(b)U in the Struggle for the Improvement of Agriculture in the Ukraine), printed in Pravda, February 15, 1933, in "O zadachakh vesennego seva i reshenii TsK VKP(b) ot 24 yanvarya 1933 goda. Doklad na ob'edinennom plenume kharkovskogo obkoma i gorkoma KP(b)U 4 fevralya 1933 g." (Concerning the Tasks of the Spring Seeding and the Resolution of the CC All‑Union CP(b) of January 24, 1933. Report at the Joint Plenum of the Kharkov District Committee and City Committee of the CP(b)U of February 4, 1933), in the resolution of the same plenum under the same name, Pravda, February 6, 1933, in Postyshev's speech, printed in Pravda, February 8, 1933, and in Khvylya's address "Na movomu fronti" (On the Linguistic Front), Visti, June 30, 1933.

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2 "Itogi 1933 selsko-khozyaistvennogo goda i ocherednye zadachi KP(b)U" (Results of 1933 in Agriculture and the Next Tasks of the CP(b)U), Rech P. P. Postysheva na plenume TsK KP(b)U 19 noyabrya, 1933 (Speech of P. P. Postyshev at the Plenum of the CC CP(b)U, November 19, 1933),º Pravda, November 24, 1933.

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3 For the full text of this section of the resolution see Kosior's speech, Pravda, February 15, 1933.

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4 Postyshev's speech at the November plenum, Pravda, November 24, 1933.

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5 Ibid., (italics are Postyshev's).

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6 Sotsiyalistychna Ukraina. Statystychny zbirnyk upravlinnya narodnohospodarskoho obliku USSR (The Socialist Ukraine: A Statistical Compendium of the Office of National Economic Statistics of the UkSSR), Kiev, January 1937, p103.

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7 Pravda, February 6, 1933.

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8 Ibid.

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9 Ibid.

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10 In 1938 the present author met two old Ukrainian Bolsheviks in the Vorkuta concentration camp. They were A. Butsenko, former secretary of the Ukrainian Central Executive Committee and later chairman of the Executive Committee of the Far Eastern Kray, and Ivan Kasyanenko, former director of Ukrainian Civil Aviation. Both had received sentences of 25 years for "Ukrainian nationalism." Both maintained that negotiations between top Ukrainian Communists and Moscow had been held in January 1933, and that the result was unfavorable for the Ukrainians.

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11 "O zadachakh vesennego seva i o reshenii TsK VKP(b) ot yanvarya 1933 g." (Concerning the Tasks of the Spring Seeding and the Resolution of the CC All‑Union CP(b) of January 1933), Pravda, February 6, 1933.

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12 "O itogakh khlebozagotovki na Ukraine i postanovlenie TsK VKP(b) ot 24 yanvarya 1933. Rezolyutsiya plenuma TsK KP(b)U, prinyataya na zasedanii 7 fevralya 1933 g." (Concerning the Results of Grain Deliveries in the Ukraine and the Resolution of the CC, All‑Union CP(b), January 24, 1933. Resolution of the Plenum of the CC of the CP(b)U adopted at the meeting held on February 7, 1933), Pravda, February 10, 1933.

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